U.S. policy and engagement in the Americas

Wendy Sherman, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Department of State, 02/28/2012

Remarks to the Council of the Americas and the Center for Strategic and International Affairs

Thank you Ambassador Negroponte for those kind words and to the Council of the Americas and the Center for Strategic and International Studies for hosting this event. I would also like to thank the Council for its continued leadership on hemispheric issues and for bringing together individuals from all sectors to ensure our engagement and dialogue on the Americas is constantly evolving. We look forward to being part of the 42nd Washington Conference at the State Department in May. I would also like to congratulate CSIS on celebrating 50 years this year of helping to find solutions to today’s foreign policy challenges. Just less than one year ago, CSIS graciously provided an opportunity for Secretary Clinton to share her views on the hemisphere prior to the President’s trip to the region.

I appreciate the invitation and welcome the opportunity to share some impressions from my trip to Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil earlier this month. These countries are key regional and global players, and genuine partners, and we work closely with them in virtually every area of policy. Given the wealth of experience represented here today, I hope to get your views as well, as we prepare for the President’s participation in the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena in April.

When we talk about U.S. policy and engagement in the Americas, it is critical that we think in strategic terms, of where we need to be in ten or twenty years. Our policies in the region are building on a huge, historically significant opportunity: to make the western hemisphere a strong platform for shared economic growth and security—regionally and globally—that will advance our peoples’ interests for generations. This is no small vision. It is shaping and reordering our diplomacy and statecraft all over the hemisphere.

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